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Grabmal Kundry
17. October 2015 - 0:00

Grabmal Kundry (Kundry’s tombstone) (in memoriam Hans Werner Henze)

Early in 2012 my friend, the pianist Severin von Eckhardstein, asked me if I was a Wagnerian, to which I had to reply that I was not, although I do very much admire some of the music, particularly Parsifal. He then asked me if I would like to contribute a piece to his Wagner project anyway. After thinking it over briefely I decided to accept and began work on the piece. As a point of departure I chose the figure of Kundry and her death in the third act of Parsifal. Kundry is present throught the entire third act but only sings, near the beginning of the act, the lines, „dienen, dienen“, or „service, service“. I chose as musical material the harmonies from the opening of the act as well as the intervals from the „dienen“ phrase. As I was working on the piece I received the news of the death of the composer Hans Werner Henze, who in his central occupation with operatic forms and his deeply rooted romantic sentiments can also be seen as a musical descendent of Wagner. Thoughts on Henze thus also found their way into my piece.

Sidney Corbett

Berlin, 2013

Musician: Jan Gerdes

BIOGRAPHY The pianist Jan Gerdes is one of the most interesting and versatile musicians of his generation. As a pianist between tradition and the avant-garde he is a master of both the classical–romantic and contemporary repertoire. Jan Gerdes studied piano and percussion at the colleges of music in Hanover and Detmold with Kurt Bauer, Nerine Barett and Renate Kretschmar-Fischer, and took master classes with well-known pianists such as Anatol Ugorski, Halina Czerny-Stefanska and Edith Picht-Axenfeld. Concerts all over the world have taken this award-winning musician to countries in Europe, South America and the Far East. He has given guest performances at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Maerzmusk Berlin, the Rotterdam Gaudeamus Week, the festival Chiffren, the Stockhausen Courses, the Centre Acanthes in Metz, the Haller Bachtage, the Beethovenfest Bonn, the WDR Musikfest, the Darmstadt Summer Course and elsewhere, and has appeared in concert halls such as the Berliner Konzerthaus, the Kölner Philharmonie, the Essener Philharmonie, the Konzerthaus Wien, the Freiburger Konzerthaus, the Tonhalle Düsseldorf, the Alte Oper Frankfurt and the Berliner Philharmonie. He has made television, radio and CD recordings for NDR, WDR, MDR, HR, RB, ORF, Deutschland Radio Berlin and the label Ambitus. His solo CD Gelände/Zeichnung with very recent piano music appeared in 2008 with the label Zeitklang. Jan Gerdes has worked with a number of leading contemporary composers, including Karlheinz Stockhausen, Wolfgang Rihm and Peter Ruzicka, and has given the first performances of works by Sidney Corbett, Peter Gahn, Markus Bongartz and many others. A traveller between the worlds of classical and new music, electronica and performance, in 2004 he founded the composing and improvising duo EROL, which explores the interface between piano music and electronic club culture. The music-theatre platform solosymphonie-productions, a joint venture with the actor Michael Fuchs, develops innovative programmes and interdisciplinary projects that juxtapose traditional and modern elements in music, theatre, literature, visual art and dance in a dramaturgy that turns them into a sensory experience. One example was the production 4.48 Psychose, a confrontation of the play by Sarah Kane with contemporary notated and improvised music, which was premiered at the Nationaltheater Mannheim. Jan Gerdes lives in Berlin and teaches piano at the University of Potsdam.



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